For franchise business owners in the retail – and specifically – resale industry, the guiding principle for store layout is to maximize sales per square foot. However, there’s another variable that impacts store design that runs a close second for franchisees of the five Winmark resale brands: customers are also able to sell back their gently used clothing, accessories, sporting goods and musical equipment.
Owners want to make sure their store layout results in a positive, convenient experience whereby customers can achieve their specific goal, whether that’s getting cash on the spot for their used items or finding the ideal outfit, baseball bat or guitar.
So, resale concepts have to be extremely smart about including inventory management in their overall store layout and design. In many ways, it can make or break a resale business. Winmark, a leader in the resale industry, has perfected the balance among inventory available on the sale floor, items brought in by customers and kept in store, and housing goods offsite in storage.
1. Agile Inventory, Flexible Store Layout
One of the hallmarks of each of the five Winmark resale franchise brands is the open floor plan and customer-centric store design. Being able to achieve this requires use of in-store and off-site inventory storage. Customers expect to see fully-stocked shelves, but they don’t want to see piles of merchandise filling up every crevice of a resale store. Compacted sales floors leave customers in unnecessarily close proximity to one another, which tends to have a negative impact on sales. So, stores with an excess of inventory will often make use of off-site storage to avoid clutter in their resale locations.
And when franchisees need to bring in new inventory, they often put items on markdown or clearance. On top of already reduced prices, sales inspire customers to come in and relieve any backlog of a specific type of product. As a result, there’s more room for new goods – and additional opportunities for purchases. As is common in most retail store layouts, resale concept owners will often feature on-sale items toward the middle of the store or directly to the right as customers enter.
2. Working Within Your Square Footage
The average square footage for each of the concepts ranges between 2,800 and 4,200 square feet. So, for a brand like Music Go Round®, which has a smaller store footprint, being able to maximize space, while also having sufficient inventory on hand to sell to customers is critical to franchisees’ success. On the other end of the spectrum, Once Upon A Child® stores frequently have more space to work with, but there’s typically a higher volume of inventory, as well. Organization is key to leaving customers pleased with their experience.
Both resale franchise concepts will stock items on the sales floor by category. For Music Go Round, that would mean guitars are together in one section, percussion instruments are in another and recording equipment is placed elsewhere, for example. With a Once Upon A Child location, clothing is often arranged by gender, age group and colorized so the options are easy to find. Accessories, like toys, strollers and high chairs are usually located together, separate from the apparel sections. In either case, the store layout aids in creating an easier path to sale because customers with a particular purchase in mind can quickly find the item they want or need.
3. Another Part of the Equation – Quality Control
Customers are also your suppliers when you’re a resale concept owner. Striking the right balance between buying items and selling in-demand items can be a challenge for many franchisees. However, Winmark provides training on the buying process, what to look for and how to move through the inventory efficiently. These best practices help franchisees buy the right items, and the computer system tells how much to pay the customer and what the sales price will be on the floor.
Franchisees new to the resale space impose a big obstacle for themselves when they don’t place a high priority on buying from their customers all day, every day. The steady customer base will be there often by virtue of the reduced costs for quality merchandise, as well as the opportunity to earn cash for selling franchisees their gently used goods – which is also a strong motivator for repeat visits.
Get Started with Winmark
Winmark helps resale concept owners with every aspect of business ownership – from site selection and business planning to store layout and design and marketing. To learn more about the franchise opportunity with our five distinct resale brands, get started here.